Carl Schmidtt





Document Type

Book Chapter




The twentieth-century godfather of political theology is the controversial Catholic jurist and sometime Nazi Carl Schmitt. This chapter provides an introduction to Schmitt's life and work, an account of his political theology as he understood it, and a review of the critical reception of his work among his fellow Catholics. The religious dimension of Schmitt's work did not attract attention until after his death in 1985. Schmitt's Glossarium, a postwar diary of notes and reflections, appeared in 1991. It contained abundant evidence that he thought of himself explicitly as a Catholic. Schmitt called his political theology “a sociology of juristic concepts,” a description whose Weberian resonance stressed its purely scholarly and impartial character. Much of the criticism of Schmitt's political theology centered on his treatment of the church. Critics like Waldemar Gurian considered Schmitt a German version of Charles Maurras, the reactionary French nationalist whose atheism had not kept him from passionately supporting Catholic Church.

Published in

The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Political Theology, Second Edition

Citation/Other Information

Hollerich, Michael J. “Carl Schmitt.” In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Political Theology, 111–124. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2019.

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